Former Vice President Joe Biden attacked his top Democratic presidential rival Sen. Bernie Sanders for not being a Democrat, while criticizing his issues and his record.
“I’m a Democrat,” Biden told reporters during a campaign stop at a Dairy Queen in Pella, Iowa, on Thursday when asked about his biggest difference between himself with Sanders. “He says he’s not. He’s not a registered Democrat, to the best of my knowledge.”
Throughout his 29-year congressional career, Sanders has been elected as an independent in Vermont, and caucuses with the Senate Democrats. He describes himself as a Democratic socialist, but refuses to join the Democratic Party. After filing to run for president last year, Sanders signed a loyalty pledge, required under new Democratic National Committee rules to formally declared himself a “member of the Democratic Party” as he seeks its presidential nomination.
Sanders’ campaign quickly responded to Biden’s comments, calling it “last-minute, cheap barbs of desperation.”
“Last-minute, cheap barbs of desperation aren’t a good look for a candidate who proclaims his desire to unite the party,” Sanders’ campaign manager said.
The former VP continued his jabs at Sanders, saying that another difference between the two is that Sanders doesn’t have a plan for the cost and implementation of his health care plan, Medicare for All, whereas Biden knows his plan and has “figured out how to pay for it.”
“Bernie has a different view,” Biden said. “I mean, everything I’ve suggested to you that I want to do, I’ve figured out how to pay for it. He’s acknowledged he doesn’t even know what his Medicare for All cost and how he’s going to do it. How do you get something done that way?”
Last Friday, Sanders in an interview with CBS News said it is “impossible to predict” the total cost of his proposal, even though it is estimated to cost $60 trillion over 10 years.”
When asked about Sanders’ record on gun control, Biden criticized his opposition to one of the most popular Democratic-backed gun measures as well as supporting a federal law that shielded gun manufacturers from civil liability for mass shootings and now he “regrets” it.
“I think Bernie has made his verbal amends for his record on guns,” Biden said. “The fact that he gave the gun manufacturers an exemption that no other industry in the world — in the United States — has, I think he regrets having done that. He was in a campaign in Vermont for a tough race for the Senate voting against the Brady Bill five times. I think he regretted that and has changed his mind.”